Some ‘Must-Try’ Fishing Technology For 2017

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

Does your smartphone hold the ScoutLook Fishing app? Downloading this versatile fish-catching tool tops our list of “must-try” fishing technology.

Walker_TechLead 600The sport of fishing has indeed come a long way from sitting on a creek bank armed with a “mostly straight” stick and a few feet of fishing line. The rods and reels we use today showcase true “space age” technology; they feature incredibly ultralight/ultra-strong materials that we use to cast a near-endless assortment of amazingly action-packed, lifelike lure choices.

How does one make sense of all the many great options and advances available to today’s anglers? Some of the most-interesting things to consider adding to your own angling arsenal are the many examples of cutting-edge technology that have become available in the fishing world; many allow anglers to learn things about the water we are fishing faster, and in turn, allow us to fish more effectively. Which means we have the potential to boat more fish and generally have more fun. And in an increasingly hectic world, with more and more demands on our limited angling time, fishing smarter is a very good thing.

Few if any anglers leave the boat ramp these days without a cell phone, so it is no shock that there are apps that benefit anglers. Not all are created equal or even, worth your time. Without doubt, the free ScoutLook Fishing app is one of those “must-download” apps for all fishermen, everywhere. This app’s incredible versatility and usefulness will have you catching more fish in no time.

Personally, I rely on the ScoutLook Fishing app while I’m on the water to first and foremost access pinpoint, accurate weather forecasts, which offer critical help in rigging my tackle for the day. How, you may ask? Just one example is selecting a proper tungsten weight for my Texas, Carolina, or Drop Shot rigs. I want to use the smallest-size weight possible that will allow me to maintain contact with the bottom, and most of the time, this choice will be dictated by the wind speed. When I know what to expect in advance, I can save valuable rigging time.

Another benefit is the app’s helpful mapping features. If you are an angler who fishes with multiple people, or maybe you rent a boat, the ScoutLook Fishing app allows you to take your fishing hotspots along with you in your smartphone. The app allows you to save and store, instantly, all your “hot” fishing locations right to your phone, and return to them, with pinpoint accuracy, any time you want. Also incredibly helpful for those who don’t own a depth finder or graph, is the optional “water contour” (depth chart) information (see image above) that’s available for thousands of bodies of water nationwide; this info can offer instant clues to obvious fish-holding structure (such as underwater humps and points) as well as important drop-offs, ledges, holes and more.

Another great feature is the ScoutLook FishLog, which allows you to record valuable information about your catches as they occur, or back at home, while the information is still fresh in your mind. By tracking my catches I can make quick notes about the day’s hot lures, colors, weights and sizes, and note unusual weather conditions. In addition, snapping a photo of a catch automatically saves all the weather data at that precise instant, allowing me to establish valuable fish-catching patterns on a specific body of water, or even, on certain sections of a lake or river. If you haven’t downloaded this free app you need to do so right now, and start reaping the benefits of its many fish-catching features.

Walker_Tech1 600HYDROWAVE H2
We all know that fish have keen senses in their underwater world, and most of what we do on the surface can be “heard” by them. Sometimes this affects our fish targets, and other times, not so much.

With the HydroWave H2 unit from T-H Marine Supplies (see image above), you are able to emit sounds into the water that can spur fish to feed, sounds that include predatory fish engaged in, well, feeding.

The HydroWave incorporates both Lateral Reactive Technology (LRT) and Vibration Reactive Technology to generate a predatory feeding response from the fish you are targeting. The speaker is mounted on your trolling motor and emits sound into the water that can even replicate certain very specific scenarios, such as spawning bait, a “feeding frenzy,” and schooling bait.

The speaker output is in form of a Tactile Sound Transmission (TST) and can be compared to a human using ear plugs. You’ll be able to feel the sound of a sub-woofer, but they won’t be able to hear what others are saying around them, which is how fish hear.

The HydroWave unit has a 2.5-inch liquid display that tells you what sound you have playing, the current volume, and if you are playing it on a continuous basis or delayed on intervals of 15, 30, 45, 60 and 120 seconds. The H2 unit comes preloaded with 16 sounds and has the ability for expansion packs to be added.

Walker_Tech2 600HUMMINBIRD HELIX 10
Ever since fishermen first began using depth finders, the amount of information they were able to learn about a lake or river increased dramatically, and the amount of time it took to learn those things dropped equally as fast. The evolution of fishing electronics has gone from a simple depth-finding flasher unit, to “fish finders” that would show both depths and “fish” emblems, to today’s highly detailed electronics that would rival the electronic capabilities found in many Navy vessels of the past.

Today’s electronics not only have your traditional “2D” sonar, they have side imaging (SI), down imaging (DI), GPS mapping, and finally, sonar that gives you a picture of what is in front of your boat. Now, I’m not saying that you must have a depth finder that has all of these capabilities or you won’t catch fish, because we all know that the fisherman still has to make the cast and present a lure properly to elicit strikes, but the information an angler can derive from these modern fishing electronics is incredible!

I could go into great detail on all the many functions of these modern units, but I feel keeping things simple is key for anglers to understanding the available technologies. Here is how I use the following sonar capabilities on my Humminbird Helix 10 units:

  • 2D Sonar – This is the red, green, yellow image that many anglers have come to know and look at when they are on the water. There is nothing wrong with this technology, as it still allows anglers to quickly garner information about the water they are fishing.
  • Side Imaging (SI) – I use this function when I’m looking for new forms of fish-holding structure, such as rocks or brush piles, or, when the opportunity presents itself, suspended schools of bass.
  • Down Imaging (DI) – I commonly describe Down Imaging as an “X-ray” view, as it takes the image from your traditional 2D Sonar and gives you a much-clearer image of a specific type of structure. As an example, what you might think is a weed clump while using 2D, will actually prove to be a submerged tree with help from Down Imaging.
  • GPS – I feel that GPS is one of the most-important features of today’s modern fishing electronics. Not only can you save an exact fishing hot spot so you can return later, but by adding a mapping chip to your unit, such as the LakeMaster Plus card, you can unlock a plethora of other information. A key feature that helps anglers keep their boats in a productive depth range is the “depth highlight” feature; if I know bass are hanging at 11 feet, I’ll select that depth on my Helix unit and the mapping screen will highlight everywhere on the lake that is 11 feet deep, plus/minus whatever increment you set. Another feature that has helped me tremendously is the ability with the LakeMaster Plus card to have the screen show a satellite image of the water I’m fishing. This isn’t a “real-time” satellite image, but when fishing rivers, like the Mississippi, I can see what backwater areas are super-shallow and others that are more navigable.
  • Forward Looking Sonar – Humminbird offers this in their 360 technology, and I like to use this for pinpointing scattered pieces of fish-holding cover. Examples are a lone boulder on a flat, or an isolated weed clump.

As you are considering upgrading your fishing and boating gear this offseason, take notice of what technology you own, and how you could improve your days on the water. By taking advantage of some of the newest, cutting-edge technology you stand to make the most of your valuable time on the water.



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